Photo by Alandra Chavarria and Handwriting by Marisa Mangum
Today we are recognizing National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, which is observed each year on January 11. We proudly join our voice to the advocacy effort focused on bringing attention to the plight of so many living in bondage. This day dates back to 2007 when a Senate resolution designated January 11 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. A few years later in January of 2010, former President Barack Obama issued a proclamation that officially made January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.1
Human trafficking is defined as, “modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.2
The three parts to the crime of human trafficking, based on the legal definition, are an action, a means, and a purpose. For instance, there may be an act of transporting (movement or travel) or obtaining something, a means of force, fraud, or coercion, and a final purpose of a commercial sex act or slavery.3
Millions of people are trafficked throughout the world each year. The International Labour Organization has reported that there are approximately 20.9 million victims of human trafficking around the world, 68 percent of whom are trapped in forced labor, 26 percent of whom are children, and 55 percent of whom are women and girls, according to Polaris.4
Forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry, according to Polaris.5 The Department of Homeland Security notes that oftentimes, the victims do not speak out about their experience. Specific demographics are not targeted in human trafficking. Through labor and sex trafficking, traffickers exploit these victims and look for those in vulnerable positions.6
At The Little Market, several of the individual artisans we work with have faced hardships in life including human trafficking. Our commitment to creating sustainable employment opportunities for vulnerable populations is informed by research showing a link between underemployment, poverty, and trafficking. We stand by each individual who has experienced human trafficking, and we encourage you to raise awareness and use your voices to stand up against this violent crime.
1 Human Rights First
2 Department of Homeland Security – What is Human Trafficking?
3 Office on Trafficking in Persons
4 Polaris – The Facts
5 Polaris – The Facts
6 Department of Homeland Security – What is Human Trafficking?
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